Wendel boosts annual revenues by 11 percent

The acquisitions of Deutsch and Materis proved a boon for Wendel Investissement, which saw revenues increase by 11 percent in 2006 thanks to strong portfolio performance.

Wendel Investissement, a listed French private equity firm, saw revenues increase by 11 percent to just over €5 billion ($6.5 billion) in 2006, as two of its most recent acquisitions boosted the performance of its portfolio.

On average, Wendel’s portfolio companies enjoyed 7 percent growth in 2006.

Its two most recent acquisitions, US haulage company Deutsch and French building materials group Materis, both enjoyed a strong year. Deutsch, Wendel’s first overseas buyout, reported a 9 percent increase in sales to €437.3 million on an annualised basis.

Materis saw an even bigger improvement, with sales up 19 percent to €1.6 billion. Wendel bought Materis last April for €1 billion from French buyout firm LBO France, and has since completed bolt-on acquisitions in France, Argentina and Switzerland.

Other strong performers were French pharmaceutical group Stallergènes, with sales up 13 percent to €127 million, and business services group Bureau Veritas, Wendel’s biggest subsidiary by sales, which saw revenues rise 12 percent to €1.85 billion.

However, the average growth figure does not include Dutch oil group Oranje-Nassau, which saw sales drop 2 percent to €243 million. Book publisher Editis, which was included, also had a disappointing year, with sales down 2 percent to €755 million.

Another highlight of 2006 for Wendel was the public offering of Legrand, an electrical equipment maker it owned jointly with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. The flotation was 30 times over-subscribed when Legrand listed on Euronext Paris in April, valuing the company at €5.4 billion and raising €1.14 billion. The two buyout firms retained a 60 percent combined stake in Legrand, which enjoyed 15 percent growth during the year.